The short version:
I am an award-winning author of over two hundred books, mainly for young people, but also, lately, for adults. In my non-fiction I have written on subjects as diverse as sharks, robots, asteroids, flying reptiles and chocolate. I also write novels and stories in the genres of science fiction, mystery, historical and horror. I write online, interactive stories for Fiction Express, two of which have won awards. My horror novel, Soul Shadows, was shortlisted for the Falkirk Red Book Award.
The longer version:
When I was very young, long before I had any ideas about becoming a writer, I spent lots of time alone in the attic of my childhood home, playing with soldiers. The soldiers were characters in the stories I would tell myself. I no longer play with soldiers (sadly!), but to this day, whenever I do any creative writing, I think of it as going into my attic.
For many years, writing was, for me, a hobby and not something I thought I could do as a job. I didn’t believe I was good enough. And besides, the attic of my imagination had always been a private space; I wasn’t sure I wanted to open it to the public.
My love of books drew me to publishing, however, and I got a job as an editor of children’s non-fiction. In my mid-30s, my circumstances changed. I was no longer enjoying my job and decided to launch myself as a freelance writer and editor. I wrote non-fiction books for money, while in my spare time I continued to write fiction. In 2008 I completed a novel that I was finally proud of. It was about a boy who never has enough time, so he goes out and buys some. He goes to the Time Store and buys himself a year and it costs him just a minute.
The publisher I sent it to liked it, and even commissioned two sequels. The novel, called The Chronosphere, came out in 2011 and was my first published fiction. I had invited people into my attic and found it wasn’t that scary. That was because I knew I was ready.
Since then I’ve written many more novels and stories for adults, young adults and children. They’ve been published by the likes of Salariya, Fiction Express, Curious Fox, Unbound, Siren’s Call and Indie Novella. Many are set in the future or the past, or in an alternative present. My escape into the attic of my imagination turned out to have been an escape from reality.
I’m not sure why that should be as I’m a big fan of reality, most of the time. I live in a house in Southgate, North London, with my wife, two children and two cats, Juno and Minerva. Each morning I commute from my bedroom to my study, where I write. It’s a tiny room with a desk placed between two big walls of books that may well collapse and bury me one day. In my spare time, I read, play tennis and go for long walks.
In 2014, I started a writing group. We all live nearby (three members live on my road!). We meet every two weeks. Over wine and monster munch, we chat about writing, read out our work and offer advice and support. I also love chatting with readers and writers on various social media forums. The attic, I’ve discovered, can be a friendly place.